Dispatches from Seattle.
April 10 1997 3:30 AM

Fashion commandments from Microsoft.


Over the past few months in my cross-divisional capacity, I have been formulating plans for Microsoft to operate as a real player in the NY/LA Media and Entertainment nexus. This is the first of a number of directives I plan to issue to that end.


As you are all aware, Microsoft has moved heavily into media, and our division is a key part of that strategy. After six months of study I have determined--through a ton of research and collaboration--that one of the key elements missing in the Microsoft culture is some sense of the hype, buzz, style, and attitude that are so key to success in the media and entertainment industries.

If we want to play with the big boys in LA and NY, we have to dress like the big boys in LA and NY--even if we are girls.

I hope that we will have your support in this effort to make us more competitive and Seattle a real hub for media and entertainment.

Effective immediately, all media and editorial folks will conform to the following dress code:


1) Wear more black. My suggestion is that one piece of black clothing be immediately visible at all times. Not only is it a good idea and slimming, it can help us to identify the greater and greater numbers of editorial- and media-type folks now working on our RedWest campus. (I wouldn't be surprised if traditional Microsofties started incorporating our fashion sense as well.) Which brings me to ...

2) Polar fleece will be worn only under other items of clothing and only for the purpose of warmth on days that the thermometer in the cafeteria dips below freezing point at noon.

3) Microsoft Training and Certification will immediately launch a new series of courses called "Dressing for Media." Each course will take only one morning to complete, and I think that all will find it quite useful. Pamela Lopez, a new employee from Vogue, will be leading the morning sessions for women, and is spearheading creation of the Day to Evening Makeup Web site. (Though it was originally intended only for the internal audience, we hope to eventually establish Pamela's Web site as a platform, much like Expedia, and to sell it to Revlon, Maybelline, etc.) The focus will be very much along the IDA--gain insight-make decisions-take actions--lines of the enhanced Service Journalism Mission that has been evangelized for our division. Let's remember that it's not that Microsoft folks don't want to look chic--it's just that they need help choosing which shade of blue eye shadow works this spring.

4) Our next ISM Editorial Lead meeting will be an offsite to discuss "Bringing Fashion to RedWest." It will be at Barneys downtown.


5) Our cafeteria contractor, Marriott, has agreed to allow ISM editorial folks to reserve tables upstairs in the Euro Cafe. Involved with this is a major re-org. Chief latte-puller Walter will be moving to a new and more appropriate position as maitre d', stationed at the Building A entrance. The company has agreed to purchase a limited number of white tablecloths, real silver, and nonrecyclable crystal. Full-time employees holding a blue ID card may reserve tables on a first-come-first-served basis. An orange contractor card automatically gets you seated in Siberia. Sorry, the tax laws. You know.

6) Prada and Gucci will be opening boutiques in the Microsoft Company Store. Estimated date of arrival: May 1998 (but that could slip).

7) We will have Casual Fridays like all other good media companies, but that doesn't mean you should just slip back into your Office 97 jacket or that favorite Microsoft Bob T-shirt.

8) No shorts before Memorial Day.


9) No Teva sandals after Labor Day.

10) Hemp is not an approved fiber.

11) College T-shirts are not chic.

12) If you're pulling an all-nighter, bring a change of clothing, please.


13) Gentlemen may remove their jackets if attending an offsite at GameWorks.

14) Blue hair is appropriate only for those who have graduated from college in the previous 12 months.

15) Security-guard chic went out last year. Displaying your Microsoft employee ID badge outside your clothing will not win you a place on Mr. Blackwell's Best Dressed List, and is no longer acceptable.

16) Wear sunglasses--preferably black--inside. Incognito is mandatory for media types. (And it's good cover when your eyes glaze over during discussions of SQL servers.)

17) Finally, to raise our profile as media players, Motorola StarTAC cell phones will be issued to all media employees. However, as part of our attempt to participate in Microsoft's program to control the cost beast, they will not be connected for service.